|Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
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Stock investing is a relatively recent phenomenon and the inventory of true classics is somewhat slim. When asked, people in the know will always list books by Benjamin Graham, Burton G. Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings by Philip A. Fisher. You'll know you're getting really good advice if they also mention Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lef¨¨vre.
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is the thinly disguised biography of Jesse Livermore, a remarkable character who first started speculating in New England bucket shops at the turn of the century. Livermore, who was banned from these shady operations because of his winning ways, soon moved to Wall Street where he made and lost his fortune several times over. What makes this book so valuable are the observations that Lef¨¨vre records about investing, speculating, and the nature of the market itself. For example:
"It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight! It is no trick at all to be right on the market. You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears in bear markets. I've known many men who were right at exactly the right time, and began buying or selling stocks when prices were at the very level which should show the greatest profit. And their experience invariably matched mine--that is, they made no real money out of it. Men who can both be right and sit tight are uncommon."
If you've ever spent weekends and nights puzzling over whether to buy, sell, or hold a position in whatever investment--be it stock, bonds, or pork bellies, you'll be glad that you read this book. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is full of lessons that are as relevant today as they were in 1923 when the book was first published. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards
With new commentary and Insights on the life and times of Jesse Livermore
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is the fictionalized biography of perhaps the most famous financial speculator of all time-Jesse Livermore. This annotated edition bridges the gap between Edwin Lefevre's fictionalized account of Livermore's life and the actual, historical events, places, and people that populate the book. It also describes the variety of trading approaches Livermore used throughout his life and analyzes his psychological development as a trader and the lessons gained through hard experiences.
- Analyzes legendary trader Jesse Livermore's strategies and explains how they can be used in today's markets
- Provides factual details regarding the actual companies Livermore traded in and the people who helped/hindered him along the way
- Explains the structure and mechanics of the Livermore-era markets, including the bucket shops and the commodity exchanges
- Includes more than 100 pages of new material
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator has endured over 70 years because traders and investors continue to find lessons from Livermore's experiences that they can apply to their own trading. This annotated edition will continue the trend.
I loved this book. I plan on reading it at least 2 more times. There are so many life lessons on trading in here it isn't funny. This book is far cheaper than Adventures of a Currency Trader and 100 times better....more info
- An insightful and entertaining book
I have read this book and "Jesse Livermore: World's greatest Stock trader," and I can say they are not redundant or repetitive. As far as differences go, the other book gives more of an account of Livermore's life. I would say this book probably has more insightful tips for trading, while the other is more insightful to the kind of person Mr. Livermore was. This is an entertaining and insightful book, but you have to really pay attention as it is written in a novel format....more info
- A timeless masterpiece filled with wisdom still applicable today
Edwin Lef¨¨vre does a fantastic job bringing the experiences of Jesse Livermore (disguised in the pages as Larry Livingston) to life in this fantastic book. This work is written as a novel and almost as a biography, in which Livermore describes his career as a stock operator. He starts from his childhood days in bucket shops (which earned him the title of "boy plunger"), continues with his experiences on Wall Street - where he made and lost millions of dollars over and over again, and finishes with intriguing stories on price manipulation and speculation back in the earlier half of the 20th century.
All throughout the book, amidst the inspiring stories and witty humor, the reader will find numerous pieces of advice - on anything from human psychology and public behavior to insider trading and investing/speculation strategies. I completely agree with other reviewers who state that this book needs to be read more than once. You simply won't absorb all the useful information the first time. Maybe not even the first two times. Or three.
Some of the book's advice is very obvious, as it is repeated many times over. Livermore makes his basic strategy clear - incremental or "probe" approach, where he would slowly build his position in a certain stock/commodity by buying (or selling) blocks of securities until he reached his target - if the ticker tape confirmed his outlook. For example, assume Livermore wanted to go long on A with an investment target of $10,000. He'd first buy $1,000 and wait. If the price moved up, his assessment seemed to be correct - so he'd buy another $2,000 of A at the slightly higher price. If the price kept going up, he'd then increase his position to $6,000 - and eventually up to $10,000 - his original target. If, of course, the price reacted differently, his market "probe" would tell him that his assessment may not have been correct.
Other "obvious" advice in the book is equally important - history repeats itself (he describes 2 amazing cases - Stratton's corner on corn and insider boosting of Tropical Trading - where he used the same technique to turn a commodity or stock bearish), don't ever follow tips from anyone (trust in yourself only), and don't cash out quickly for a small profit - but rather ride your investment out (go long in a bull market, short in a bear market).
Amidst examples and stories in which the above pieces of advice appear to shine over and over again, other small and hidden tid-bits pop up throughout the entire book. Livermore is unafraid to talk about his mistakes, and he makes it clear that it's not his wish to brag about his successes - but to simply inform the reader why he did what he did. And he does a fantastic job in that.
The book is very well written. It feels like a novel, where every chapter follows the main story arc but talks about something different each time, with great insight on yet another topic. The stories are very engaging, often witty and humorous. I read through more than half of the book carefree, simply enjoying the great prose and Lef¨¨vre's literary skill - before I realized that Livermore has been giving me timelessly precious advice all throughout, and that I need to pay more attention.
I will read this book again. I will take notes again. I don't want to miss anything.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the stock or commodities markets. It is enjoyable and entertaining, and it is eye-opening and insightful. It can be read simply as a collection of intriguing stories, or as an "investment bible" with much advice that is still applicable today. While the rules of the exchanges and the amount of money that flows through them have changed, the people trying to beat the market haven't.
+ beautiful literary prose
+ intriguing, engaging, witty stories
+ lots and lots of investment advice that still holds true today (80+ years later!)
+ many examples of historical events that have and will continue to repeat themselves
+ great as either a low-key bed-time book or as a serious stock/commodity investment and speculation guide
+ each chapter talks about something new, making it easy to read the book over time without losing track of the main story
- first published in 1923 - so keep in mind that, of course, some things are outdated (i.e. certain rules and practices are in place now that weren't then, the amount of money has increased to a point where stock price manipulation is not as easy, etc.) - but treat this as a history lesson
- probably needs to be read more than once (but is that really a con?) for the investment advice...more info
One of those books everyone should read, but some of the material is dated....more info
- Amazing Book
This is one of the best books i've read. Now, if you people out there want step by step how to get rich trading book, this is not the book. And you'll find out after searching that those books don't exist. I've never come across a book that shows me step by step how to trade and make money with explicit directions and strategies. The key takeaway from this book centers around the importance of psychology in trading, i.e. your mentality, determination, patience and belief in yourself, etc. And the way he chronicles out his wins, his losses, and his emotions at the time, can help any trader, whether he/she is new to the game or a veteran. Again, when i say "help" i don't mean some magical trading strategy. I mean help get you in the right mindset to come up with your own winning strategies and help you stay focused. if you don't get this from reading this book, then it looks like you have missed the point of the book, or simply you don't have an interest in trading....more info
- This book is just plain fun!
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator was nothing like I expected, but much more than I could have imagined. I expected a book full of trading wisdom from the early part of the 1900's that would still apply today. Sure enough, ideas like going with trend, trying not to pick tops and bottoms, measuring market sentiment, trusting your own system, etc. filled this book. What I did not realize was that this book is a novel that illustrates these timeless trading principles in an entertaining way. This is one of those books you just don't want to put down. If you have a passion for trading and love a good, light novel, this book is for you!...more info
The principles of human and market behavior never change! A joy to read this book....more info
- Excellent read!
This is a classic book, and the way you can figure that out?
Many quotes and lines you thought were from a different source came out of reminiscences...
It is wisdom on investing that is apropos today: it makes a great case for having time to think out a sound purchase and sale plan, timing it correctly, and then having the courage of your convictions to stick it out.
I also liked the 'period' language of the early 20th century. It could also pass off for a decent economic history of this period in the U.S.
- Interesting book.
Very entertaining to see that most things in the stock market have not changed the last hundred years. Not exactly a literary masterpiece, but plenty of good advice here and there. You can probably survive without, but defintely a beneficial read for people interested in the market....more info
must read for all beginning investors, its a wonderful book, and as he says "speculation is as old as the hills", what you'll lear from this NOVEL will be applicable every day in today's market....more info
- Livermore versus Darvas
The inspirational quality of this book has been well established by other reviews. A comparable story is spun by Nicolas Darvas in "How
I made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market". While Darvas may pale in some ways in comparison to Livermore, his trading strategy evolved into
nearly identical techniques. Darvas provides a more helpful read,
however; he describes his trades, one at a time, with a specificity
lacking in the Livermore tale. While Livermore advocates buying on
resistance breakouts (thus "buying high"), Darvas illustrates how to
recognize those breakouts (provided one is willing to translate his "box
method" into chart interpretation). When Livermore coyly suggests
"selling low", Darvas explains that since one can never know how high
a stock may move, he would sell by use of a real or mental trailing stop
to sell near the top, rather than taking profits at an arbitrary point.
The Darvas system can be accused of rigidity, but at least Darvas was
a novice trader who found a strategy and applied it regularly. With
Livermore one is left wondering what the strategy really is. Darvas
serves to explain it. Both men flourished during different but powerful
bull market cycles. Livermore's journey ended shortly after the crash
of the 30s, from which he never recovered and finally committed suicide. I don't know what became the fate of Darvas. Livermore was
a trader prodigy who became a titan. Darvas was an entertainer (a dancer) and an amateur investor with time on his hands, who turned
investing as a hobby into a serious enterprise. The most important lesson they share is that it is the overall character of the market
that is more important than anything else. Both of them could stay
in cash for months, years if necessary, waiting for the right conditions
to appear. Thus, the other lesson they share is the wisdom of trading
only under the right conditions. Both learned the folly of frequent
in and out trading. Diversification was never a serious thought for
either of them. Both learned the hard way to cut losses early. Both
learned the value of not taking profits too early. Compared to most
traders both of them traded rather seldom, but invested to the hilt on margin when they did. Both books can usefully be part of any trader's library. As I write this review on Memorial Day, 2009, we are poised
for either one of the great new bull markets of a lifetime, or a correction into oblivion. Those who would choose to emulate Livermore
or Darvas will be choosing either to live by the sword or perish by it.
- The Ultimate for thr true "Trader"
This book is the finest of it's kind. The mentality of the trade. The reasons why...The heartfelt passion of trading the markets. The Stock Market then, now, and forever will be just what it was then. Easy to read, and entertaining. It's funny, knowing while I trade now, that so many years ago, it was just the same... ...more info
- How (not) to invest
Jesse Livermore committed suicide on November 28, 1940 after incurring heavy losses in the market. This book is a fictionalized account of his life. It is undoubtably a classic, but readers tempted to follow his advice would do well to consider that he had repeatedly lost his entire fortune, regained it, only to lose it again not long afterwards. Not long before he died, he finished a book on his investment strategies. Unlike this book, it didn't sell very well back then, and it still doesn't sell well now. Readers should also keep in mind that the author of this
book, a writer by the name of Lefevre, wasn't much of an investor himself (just a few isolated investments over his lifetime, according to the book's foreword.) Apparently, the author didn't have much faith in Livermore's methods.
It's almost funny how often I've seen this book mentioned by other books on investing. For the most part, they neglected to mention how he died and why....more info
- Every Trader, Novice or Experienced Should Read
This book is a classic. It was recommended to me, and I understand why. This book is written from the perspective of a powerful and successful trader who actually lived 'the life' of a trader. His ups, and his downs. What is valuable about the book is his insights into trading. He helps a novice understand why the deck is stacked against you, and for the more experienced, provides the warm and fuzzy's of a collegues world experience. If you are considering being a trader, or have just started down the path, reading this book will provide you with the 'back drop' or 'scene and setting' for developing a mindset that MAY help you be successful. In other words, this book is a book of wisdom, that is, if you would rather learn from someone elses success and failures, then to learn them all on your own. Granted, there is much to learn in the commodities trading world, but this book is small price to pay to avoid at least some of the negative experiences the protaganist experiences.
I couldnt put the book down, but then again, I am currently fascinated with the traders profession....more info
- Entertaining and still relevant, after all these years
The book tells the story of a very succesfull stock speculator, and not least how he became successful by learning from his own mistakes and lack of insight. The book is very well written and the stories excitingly told. It also gives a flair of the financial world at the beginning of the 20th century. Although the tools and terms of today's stock market are lightyears from the scenes portraid, the psychology of the mind, market and the basics of fear and greed are the same. Anyone active in the market, professional and amateur will benefit from reading this book. Not least the account of how the main character of the book developed insight into himself is priceless....more info
- Valuable Insights Still Applicable Today
This book was first published in 1927, and there are a few times throughout the book that the reader gets a sense of the fictionalized story's age. But for the most part, this book is still very applicable to anyone interested in learning more behind the mindset of a professional stock trader, not to mention the fascinating insights into how the market worked one hundred years ago. Although I am not much of a trader, professionally or otherwise, this book helped me understand the stock market better. Yet, it assumes that the reader already has a basic knowledge of how the market works and the various strategies traders' use to maximize their return. In other words, this is not a book to pick up without having a basic knowledge of trading stocks. It was interesting, but dragged on towards the end, forcing me to go through the last few chapters rather quickly. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable to read and contained advice for any trader in today's market. I agree with another reviewer, this could be a great movie!...more info
- Still the Best
This is a classic book on trading and market speculation, and is still the best introduction to the subject. The author was one of the most successful traders of all time, gaining and losing massive fortunes multiple times in his life. The candid account of his experiences that is passed on in the book is priceless and accelerates one's development as a trader immensely. Recommended reading for all traders....more info
- A Must Read for Anyone Interested in Trading (and Markets in General)
This simply is mandatory reading for anyone looking for a Job on Wall Street (US) or in the City (UK). Please read other reviews for more details... I just want to say after being in this business for just over ten years, this is the one book I ask all of my colleagues and employees to read. It will give you a real understanding of trading and an appreciation for markets....more info
- Not what it is hyped up to be.
Before purchasing this book it was hyped pretty high. I though it would have more sound investing information rather than just a semi-fictional story about one man and his investing life. If you are not a champion of speculating then this book will not be that valuable to you. Bottom line I don't like to read fiction and this book is fiction. I don't care about people's nonsense ideas about the market and this is just one "fictional" persons account. I did find it interesting gleaming some historic knowledge on places and people. I would recommend reading this book if you get it for free or very cheap but don't buy it if there are other books you want to read. I think the people who love this book are more into fiction than I am and maybe feel they "should" love this book because other people do. I found freakanomics to be more interesting than this book. If you want to read a book about investing then read Intelligent Investor....more info
- Reminiscences is a required read
This book is about the joys and trials of a stock operator and makes for a good read. It is a must for those interested in investing and trading. It is recommended that one read this book and be thoughtful of the lessons learned in the character's life, so as not to be so easily fooled or toyed with when entering the market....more info
- Timeless Lessons and a Window on Another Era
Edwin Lefevre's "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" is a "fictionalized" memoir of the real-life trader Jesse Livermore - considered by some the greatest stock trader of all-time. Working in the early twentieth century, Livermore started from nothing and built multi-million dollar wealth multiple times, only to repeatedly lose it. Livermore was so respected and feared during his era that rumors of his trades would create and destroy fortunes on Wall Street. In this book, written in 1922, Livermore tells the
This book is not a full memoir of his life and instead focuses only on his "business." He only refers to his wife or personal life as it relates to his investing; for example, in one case, one executive "used" his wife by dropping some insider information to her over dinner in an effort to encourage Livermore to trade in that company. Livermore did, but - as someone who didn't believe in buying on tips - her instead shorted that company. Still, because he never focused on his personal life and rarely on his personal feelings, I was shocked to later read that Livermore killed himself twenty years later and had had four wives.
This book is full of "trading" (not investing") advice. Is any of his advice relevant today? While his techniques may not work for the modern trader, much can still be learned from this book. He says it best when he says that, although cadets at West Point need not study archery as practiced by the ancients, "Weapons change, but strategy remains strategy, on the New York Stock Exchange as on the battlefield.... `The principles of successful stock speculation are based on the supposition that people will in the future will continue to make the mistakes that they have made in the past.'"
"Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" is written in a very matter-of-fact style that is easy to read. It is a very interesting book to read and a window on another era. Still, many of the lessons and strategies are still useful for the modern trader.
- Thesis on market behavior
If you are looking to start trading the stock market this is an absolute must first read. This isn't a book about a trading system. It doesn't tell you buy points or sell points. There is absolutely no information on how to screen the market for the next big thing. What it does tell you is how the market behaves and what to expect.
When I first started trading I read How To Make Money in Stocks by William O'Neil, and I have had great success with his strategy. I wish I had read this one first. It gives you a much greater idea of how stocks can behave and how you should react to that behavior. It shows you what happens when you let your emotions get in the way, in the words of someone that let that happen - several times. I'm not saying you'll be able to take your emotions out of a trade, but you will have a better idea of what to expect emotionally. Then you will be better prepared to handle it.
Read this book. Then read How to Make Money in Stocks....more info
- OUtstanding book for all traders of all markets
Found the insight of Jesse Livermore to be very helpful in understanding winning trader behaviour. Its the type of book that really focuses on the experiences of a trader who shares what is needed to really succeed in the markets. Would reccommend this book to any serious trader looking to improve his/hers performance in the markets....more info
- Purchase of Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
Product arrived promptly and was in even better condition than advertised. Completely happy with this purchase!...more info
- If I Knew THEN - What I Know NOW - I'd SLEEP with Lefevre's book!!!!
This is it folks, when all is said and done, the world of making money in the stock market comes down to a handful of books. Knowledge that you must absorb, NO, more than absorb, you have to take OWNERSHIP of this knowledge. More than any other book, this book is on the list. Oh yes, there are several others you desperately need to OWN also.
Certainly you should be reading all of Benjamin Graham's works including "Security Analysis", the 1940 Edition, and also Graham's "The Intelligent Investor". Philip Fisher's extraordinary "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" is another fabulous work, but none of them, and no other book for that matter reads like a novel, a Hollywood thriller in fact - only Edwin Lefevre's "Reminiscences...." fulfills that role.
Very briefly, Jesse Livermore's life as a stock and commodities trader is portrayed in the book through the character of Larry Livingston. As you probably know, in a novel you can do and say things, and take literary license that you could never do in an actual biography.
The period covered is basically the beginning of the 20th century through the 1920's. Livermore made and lost several fortunes in his lifetime; ultimately he went belly up and emotionally could not deal with it. This led to his suicide in a hotel in New York City. With today's medical knowledge he would have been classified with severe bipolar disorder, and presumably drugs would have been able to reign in the personality extremes that he suffered from. Of course that is now, and we are dealing with then.
What is noteworthy is that Livermore was astute enough to realize that he had these bouts of depression, and he did not trade during those periods when he suffered from them. He knew his thinking was not clear enough during those periods, and his judgment would suffer, and oh did this man have judgment. He was the ultimate professional trader.
This is not a book to be read once. In that it is like reading Shakespeare's plays. Each time you work your way through it, you will learn more and more. If you have trading experiences to fall back on, then this book becomes even more important to you. Read the book in conjunction with your trading. You will understand what you did wrong, and what you NEED TO CHANGE, to do it right.
There are some who will tell you that Jesse Livermore was such a force in the markets, that it is hinted that he was responsible for the market crash of 1929, the tsunami of all market crashes. John Kenneth Galbraith, the Harvard economist, and one of the most knowledgeable historians dealing with the depression, argues differently. What is important is that Livermore had to hire a bodyguard during this period, and also went into seclusion, which indicates that many people believed the story.
There was a point in his career where Livermore made as much as $[...] million in trading profits in a month. Imagine, at a time when a 6 course meal at Delmonico's on Wall Street was a dollar? Here are some of the extraordinary concepts you will pick up in reading this book:
* "WHATEVER HAPPENS IN THE STOCK MARKET TODAY HAS HAPPENED BEFORE, AND WILL HAPPEN AGAIN."
I am personally 35 years into trading, and formally retired from Wall Street when I was 45. You have no idea how important Livermore's advice is. There is no substitute for years of experience living through the cycles. It gives you a tremendous grounding in historical truth that prevents you from getting suckered out at the bottom, or fooled at tops.
* "WEAPONS CHANGE, BUT STRATEGY REMAINS STRATEGY, ON THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE AS ON THE BATTLEFIELD..."
Yes, and this is why a great stock trader from the 1920's, would do just as well today as then. I knew Salim Cy Lewis the modern founder of Bear Stearns; some would argue he was as good a trader as Livermore. I worked for Alan "Ace" Greenberg, Chairman of Bear Stearns, who was the greatest trader of his generation. Livermore is right, learn the strategies, and you will be successful on any battlefield, at any point in history.
* "THOU SHALL NEVER FIGHT THE TREND"
Ignore this instruction at your peril, never catch a falling knife. Let it hit the floor, and then buy on the way up. Never buy on the way down, you never know where down is, where down stops. You only buy on the way up.
* "LET YOUR PROFITS RUN AND CUT YOUR LOSSES SHORT"
Who doesn't know this; just try executing on it consistently, every day, day in, day out. Try taking emotion out of the trade, try to be objective. Try selling, realizing you were wrong, and jump right back in, while your fellow traders think you are nuts.
* "NO STOCK IS TOO HIGH TO BUY OR TOO LOW TO SELL"
This is such common sense that a child would say, well of course that's what you should do. It takes a rare type of individual that can live by the code, and execute on its wisdom daily.
Jesse Livermore was everything you think he was, and more. His untimely death at his own hand is not what should be studied, and learned. We all have our pains that we must deal with. Read this book, and change your investing life forever, or don't read it, and pay a price with your portfolio, and forgone profits. Good luck
- A gambling classic
I found nothing new in this book that I could use as an investor. The book's author traded based on what is now called "technical analysis" or more precisely gambling. This is affirmed by the fact that this supposedly genius-trader ended his life with $10,000 to his name. Not good.
The book is also not an easy read. May be it was back then when it was written, but it was hard going for me. Had to drop it 2/3 way down. Of course, may be the last third was the best, where all that trading wisdom and writing skills came out, but I just could not handle it any more. ...more info
- Best Speculation Read
I consider this the best book on speculation. It offers excellent guidance through the guise of a story. Well worth the read....more info